Véronique Enginger: Retro Cross Stitch

36663314Title: 500 Patterns, French Charm for Your Stitchwork
Author: Véronique Enginger

Enter this deliciously vintage universe of 500 patterns and add a touch of nostalgia to your stitchwork. Recreate 1800s and 1900s fashion house designs and milliners’ catalogues. Take your cross stitch on a bon voyage into the past with traveling motifs like trunk labels of exotic destinations and railroad advertising posters. Other sections of patterns feature tea and coffee motifs, and daily life in vintage terms. Many of the designs include multiple scenes and motifs, offering you hundreds of components to use in a myriad of ways. Throughout, be inspired by “mood boards” of completed motifs, along with photos of projects that will show off your creations in daily life.


While there are medium-sized and large patterns in this book, a lot are really tiny motifs: tea-cups, flowers, stamps, bottles…all in a nice vintage-style. There’s also a fair number of small patterns that are almost identical but for the colour scheme. Now, I don’t mind either of these things. I’m more likely to add a cute little motif to a birthday-card than to stitch a whole sampler (I don’t have any wall to hang it on anyway) and the motifs are the perfect size for small projects. I’m also fine with the near-identical patterns. Sure everybody can just replace one colour with another but that doesn’t mean that the colours work well together. It’s nice that someone else has done the work of picking matching colours for you.

My issues with this book are somewhere else: there’s barely any pictures of the finished projects. Sure, I’m not expecting pictures of every single finished item, including the tiny ones that are only a few stitches wide. But for the larger motifs, I would like to have a better idea of the look of the finished item than the pattern alone can give me. It is coloured so you have a rough idea of how it will look but ‘rough idea’ isn’t enough for 10+ hours of work.

And on another note: Dear Authors. Google Translate is not your friend. People who actually speak the language are.
One section has travel-motifs, including one that has Russia in Russian written on it. Only in the pattern, it’s spelled Россйя when it should be Россия (transcribed that would be something like Rossjja instead of Rossija). A few pages later there’s a caviar-box that says икрá (ikra) with a stress-mark over the last letter, which is how you would find the word in a dictionary but not anywhere in print. My guess is the author just looked up the word in some online-dictionary and the и/й is also just a stress-mark and no competent speaker told her that a) she wouldn’t have needed it and b) it makes it look like a different letter.

Other patterns also contain text in Spanish, possibly-Hindi, Japanese, Greek, Chinese and probably some other languages I just missed but I am very reluctant to stitch these since I assume the author took as much care with proof-reading those as she did with Russian. I don’t want to make a card for one of my multilingual friends only to hear:


There aren’t too many motifs with texts (that aren’t in French, but I do assume the author knows her own language) so I am not loosing out too much but this kind of sloppiness still bugs me. And, as said, there really aren’t enough pictures of finished objects. I enjoy the motifs in this book more than those in the author’s other book (Fables & Fairy Tales to Cross Stitch) which was too pastel for my taste but it at least showed how the end product will look.

ARC provided by NetGalley

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